Wirral 0 Ilkley 15

FOLLOWING the Past Players luncheon the Wirral side took to the pitch and produced their worst performance of the season.

Although Wirral had plenty of possession in the first quarter they were not able to turn that advantage into points; passes did not go to hand and wrong options taken.

At this stage, with the wind behind them, Ilkley's sole intention was to get the ball downfield and benefit from any errors by the home side.

Wirral were looking to kick back instead of using the ball to counter- attack, which is their natural strength.

In the period before half time, Ilkley had two long penalty kicks at goal before succeeding with a third by Joe Rowntree from 20m out after Wirral had infringed when in possession.

Ilkley led 0-3 at half time.

Wirral started the second half with optimism and established good territorial advantage, but it soon became apparent that the failings of the first half were evident again.

To their credit, Ilkley tackled everything and their defence stayed firm.

There were flashes of inspiration from the Wirral backs but time and again the final pass was missed or dropped as that element of luck which every side needs deserted them.

Ilkley's first try came in extra ordinary circumstances when an attempted drop-goal was scuffed along the ground, hit the post, a Wirral player fumbled the rebound only for the Ilkley prop, Ollie Holtam, to follow up and dive on the ball to score; converted by Joe Rowntree.

The frustration in the Wirral team was evident as they worked hard to regain their shape but with time running out and an increasingly confident Ilkley, it was the away side who were passing the ball down the line.

Eventually pressure told when the other prop Josh Cockerham crossed the whitewash in the final minutes to win the game 0-15.

It was clear that Ilkley adapted and mastered the heavy conditions more readily than Wirral.

This win will ease any threat that Ilkley had of relegation whilst this defeat puts Wirral out of contention for the play-off position.